Palestinian militants fire rocket into Israel just hours after agreeing to cease-fire
Palestinian militants fired a rocket into southern Israel on Sunday, just hours after the Israeli military and Palestinian groups agreed to a cease-fire.
No terror group has taken responsibility for the attack as of Sunday afternoon, and Israel has yet to issue a response. The rocket, launched from Gaza, landed harmlessly in an open area, according to the Israeli Defense Forces.
Israeli forces killed 33 Palestinians last week in five days of fighting that followed Israel's killing of three top members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group. Meanwhile, two people in Israel were killed.
The violence continued until representatives of the two groups came to a cease-fire agreement mediated by Egypt. That agreement took effect on Saturday and had been holding until Sunday's rocket launch.
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Israel says its initial strikes last week targeted Khalil Bahitini, the commanding officer of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organization’s Northern Gaza Division; Jahed Ahnam, the secretary of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad military council, as well as 49-year-old Tarek Az Aldin, a senior operative who oversaw communications and coordinated terror attacks in Israeli territories.
The strikes also killed civilians, including three women and four children, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The IDF acknowledged and lamented those casualties, noting that while their strikes were aimed exclusively on "PIJ targets," those targets "act in very crowded civilian populations." Another four Palestinian civilians were killed in what the IDF said was from misfiring Palestinian rockets that fell short and landed in Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a stern warning to militants during a cabinet meeting this weekend.
"Israel’s enemies in Gaza and much farther than Gaza know that even if they try to hide, we are able and prepared to reach them at any time," he said.
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Throughout the conflict, Palestinian militants fired some 1,400 rockets into Israel, the vast majority of which were blocked by the country's Iron Dome defense system. Meanwhile, Israeli jets carried out strikes on roughly 400 targets, according to an IDF estimate.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This report has been updated to clarify circumstances surrounding the Palestinian deaths.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.